Chilika lake- an overview

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Chief Executive, Chilika Development Authority, Bhubaneswar


Chilika is the biggest lagoon along the East-coast of India, situated between latitudes 190 28' and
190 54' "N” and longitude 850 05' and 850 38' "E". It covers the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of
Odisha. It is separated from Bay of Bengal by a sand bar whose width varies from 100 MTS to 1.5
Kms. A 32 Kms long narrow outer channel connects the main lagoon to the Bay of Bengal near
village Arakhakuda. The lagoon can be broadly divided into four ecological zones, the southern
zone, the central zone, the Northern zone and the outer channel.
The water-spread of the lagoon varies between 1165 Sq.kms to 906 Sq.Kms during monsoon and
summer respectively. The lagoon is pear shaped, with linear maximum length of 64.3Kms and
the average mean width of 20.1 Kms, the mean width during summer and monsoon is 14.08Kms
and 18.10 Kms respectively. The vegetarian free area of the Lagoon is 726 Sq.Kms where as the
area covered with macro-phyte is 179Sq.Kms (varies seasonally). The Lagoon is an estuarine one
and a unique assemblage of marine, brackish water and fresh water ecosystem. Over one millm
migratory Water-fowl, Shore-birds and resident birds winter here, thus it is a hot-spot of Biodiversity and a wetland of international importance.

A. K. Pattnaik, P.Chandramohan, B.K. Jena

Chief Executive, Chilika Development Authority, Bhubaneswar

Indomer Coastal Hydraulics (P) Ltd., 6, Sagarika Appt., Dona Paula, Panaji, Goa-403004.


Tidal inlet is a short and narrow waterway, connecting either a bay or lagoon with ocean, which
is maintained by the tide with its ebb and floods flows. The main flow in a tidal inlet around a year
is caused by astronomic tides and in some cases with tributary fresh water inflow. The tidal inlet
can be broadly classified into three main groups viz, i) geological origin, ii) hydrological origin, and iii) littoral drift origin. Most of the tidal inlets of engineering importance are of littoral drift origin. Inlet configuration is determined by the bay geometry, direction of predominant littoral drift, wave and tidal characteristics, and sediment characteristics along the inlet mouth.

Stability of the inlet depends on the resultant state of the forcing parameters between the tidal prism i.e., the amount of water flow into the inlet between two slack tides and the littoral drift

across the mouth. Any inlet demonstrates a continuous change in its geometry by which the
length of the inlet channel and its configuration, and the across sectional area of the gorge varied.
Most of the inlets migrate in the direction of the predominant littoral drift. If littoral drift is less
and tidal prism is relatively large, number of mouths may open and inlet stay open for a longer
period. Consequently, if littoral drift is strong and tidal prism is relatively less; inlet will be choked
and short lived.

Chilika lagoon is the largest tidal inlet in Asia and it has gained great importance as tourist attraction,

bird sanctuary and large fishing ground. The lagoon has a surface area of about 756 km, but is connected to the Bay of Bengal through a long and tortuous inlet channel thereby contributing to
low tidal prism. Due to large northerly littoral sediment transport, the inlet mouth is being continuously migrated towards the north, resulting in elongation of the channel and reduction in
channel cross section. The history further shows a rapid migration of the mouth from south to
north with time. This natural inlet is getting deteriorated and causes great concern for the entire
eco-system of the brackish water body of the lagoon.


B.U. Nayak, L.K. Ghosh, S.K. Roy, R.S. Kankara

Central Water and Power Reseach Station, Pune


This paper discusses the mathematical model studies carried out to assess the effect of the proposed improvements to the inlet channel of Chilika lagoon, Odisha, on flow circulation
and salinity distribution in the lagoon. Both one and two-dimensional models were used.
Model studies indicate that the proposed dredged channel from lake to the existing inlet does
not significantly change the salinity in the lagoon. The change is noticed only unto Satpara,
situated 25 km upstream of the existing inlet. The friction loss in the long inlet channel considerably
one-dimensional model, It was found that the tidal influx can be increased considerably by
effecting a straight out. This would help greater exchange of water between the sea and the
lagoon thereby causing better distribution of water and salinity in the lagoon.
A 2-dimentional mathematically model study was carried out to examine the impact of the
proposed straight cut on improvement of tidal prism as well as salinity flux into the lake.
It is observed that straight cut will increase the tidal range at Satpara to 30 cm from existing
20cm., increasing tidal flux by 40% and salinity flux by 45%.There is however a drastic reduction
in the tidal range in lake proper as it has got vast surface to absorb the tide. The tidal range in
the lagoon is only a few centimetres. As such tide induced currents in the lagoon were very
low. The effect of wind inducted circulation was also considered in the model. Wind effect
sets a flow circulation in the lake. Though the wind driver circulation doesn’t significantly
contribute to the net salinity flux into the lagoon, It does not redistribute the same thereby
increase the salinity near the boundary. The straight cut seems to be a viable solution for
improving the flow and salinity distribution in the lagoon. There is a constriction of flow area
between the lagoon and the straight cut it is desirable to remove the obstruction of Magarmukh
prior to taking up the work of straight cut.

N.D. Mohanty, G. Behera

Orissa Remote Sensing Application Centre, Bhubaneswar


Chilika is a lagoon situated along the east coast of India and is the largest brackish water body
in India. The lagoon is connected with the Bay of Bengal through a narrow inlet frequently changes
its position and shifts towards north, which in turn reduces the effect of tides into the main lagoon.
It is mainly fed with fresh water by the Daya and Bhargavi rivers, although there have been discharges from several streams and overland flow. A large area, particularly the northern part
of the lagoon is infested by fresh waterweeds at a very fast rate. This unchecked growth of fresh
waterweeds have caused serious environmental degradation and have drawn the attention of
many research workers in the past years .In view of the above environmental changes, ORSAC
has; Studied the growth of fresh waterweeds, shrinkage of water and spread area, migration of
inlet and variation of fresh water discharge coupled with shifting of the inlet from the main
lagoon. A study conducted in Feb/March’96 indicates that mean surface salinity of northern, central,
southern and outer channel zones of the lagoon area are1.38, 4.25, 5.31 and 6.3 ppt respectively.



Department of Marine Sciences, Berhampur University, Orissa


Chilika Lake is the largest brackishwater Lagoon in Asia. This 65 km long pearshaped shallow
wetland with average water spread area of about 1050 km2 is circumscribed by some rockey
and green hills on its western and southern boundaries, alluvial plain of river Mahanadi on its
north and the Bay of Bengal on its east. The lagoon is connected with sea by a narrow and zigzag
channel about 35 km long. A number of river and several rivulets drain nearly 3,75,000 cusecs
of fresh water into it every year. The general attributes such as geomorphic configuration, hydrography sediment characteristics and biology of the lake confirms to the characteristics of
a typical "choked lagoon". Ecologically, the lagoon can be divided into 4 different zones namely Northern, Central & southern Sectors and the outer channel area.
The lagoon harbours enormous varieties of freshwater, brackishwater and marine organisms. A
total of 96 species of phytoplankton,26 species of macro algae and several species of aquatic
weeds have been reported from this lagoon.Similarly,170 species of zooplankton,117 species
of benthic invertebrates,77 species of phytal fauna, 217 species; of fishes, 30 species of shrimps
& prawn, 151 species of resident and migratory birds and 2 species of aquatic mammals i.e.
Dungong dungong (sea cow) & Orcaella brevirostrics(Dolphin) have been reported from it.
Chilika lagoon is playing a very crucial role in the social, economic, political and cultural front
of a large section of the people living in and around it. The maritime glory of Odisha as well as
the estuarine biological studies in india virtually owe their origin to this lagoon. At present over
one lakh fisher folk, inhabiting in 122 villages earn their livelihood from the fisheries of this lagoon
Its prawn fishery constitute one of the important dollar earning items of the state. The winter
gathering of resident and aboard. Of late, the environment situation of the lagoon has created
concern for the environment, fishery scientists, ornithologists, planner and administrators.
The environmental degradations have been attributed to its constant interaction with the
neighbouring marine, freshwater, fluvial and hillock basins, influence of local conditions of
climate, demographic traits, coastal processes and anthropogenic activities. The important visible
deteriorations are : i)physical alterations like siltation., fall in salinity, shrinkage of lagoon mouth
and macrophyte infestation and ii) change of water quality due to addition of chemical pollutant
(heavy metals, pesticides, oil etc.) Sewage and suspended solids. Over fishing, conflict in fisheries, un-authorised shrimp culture threating the sustainability of its resources.


Ex-Director (Planning), Water Resources Department, Bhubaneswar

Excessive sediment inflow into Chilika Lagoon has become greatest concern for the heath of the lake. It is estimate that since last few decades, the lake is shrinking at the rate of 1 to 2 Sq. km./year.
The northern Sector has become the worst affected area and largest sediment deposited by the streams like Daya & Bhargavi has made apart of the northern sector of mud flat area and made it
fit for agriculture in invasion. The Western side also brings lot of sediments from the hill range which
has become bald due to large-scale deforestation and overgrazing, illicit felling & ruthless cutting and agriculture activities in hill scopes make the soil erosion very active. However no systematic & scientific observation have been made so far about the exact quantification. Of sediment entering
the lake. The hydrological behaviour of Mahanadi River in lower reaches has undergone a major change after the Hirakud Dam was built in 1958. The systematic evaluation of sediment inflow in
post Hirakud Dam period is studied along with the propertional relation of sediment transport in Daya and bhargavi river system and its effect on lake. Since 1997 attempts have been made to
monitors sediment inflow in 5. River stream i.e. Daya & bhargavi in the northern sector & malaguni.
Kusumi & Salia in the Western sector and developed co-relation of the sediment yield ill non point source and inflow of transfer of sediment into lake.The observation of sediment in Daya & Bharrgavi
are being co-related with the total sediment load coming in the undivided Mahanadi. The sediment observation which has been commend ed by Department of water resources since 1997 will go a
longway in quantifying the exact sediment entiring the lagoon and evolving suitable strategy in
management of Chilika lagoon. However with he 1996 &1997 stud indicates that approximately 15
lakh ton sediment enters the lake in the Northern sector and 3lakh ton in Western sector. This figure is only indicate and series date will help to establish a realistic assessment of sediment load coming into lagoon.



Chief Executive, Chilika Development Authority, Bhubaneswar

Ex-Director (Planning), Water Resources Department, Bhubaneswar


A systematic observation and monitoring of Hydrological and biological parameters is highly

essential for evolving a conservation strategy for the Chilika lagoon. The hydrology is the most
key factor governing the ecological process and functions of a wetland eco-system. Changes in
hydrological regimes greatly effect the biological community. Chilika lagoon is a classical tidal
lagoon created by a beach barrier of sand developed by the accretion of coastal sediment. It
has got certain distinct and typical characteristic differing from many other lagoons because
of large inflow of fresh water from numbers of river streams entering the lagoon thus attributing
estuarine characteristics, leading to a salinity gradient maintained by this lagoon. This unique
characters leads to an assemblage of all three eco-system i.e., Freshwater, brackish water and
marine eco-system in one wetland leading to amazing biodiversity. Thus the hydro-biological
study warrants immediate attention by way of data collection both in quantitative and qualitative
and spetial change that takes place in the lagoon at different point of time round the year and
are not much use in the process of developing the strategy for conservation of this fragile wetland.

S.K. Mohanty, S.S. Patnaik

Water Resources Department, Bhubaneswar


The Naraj Weir built more than century ago which was lying in a exteame dilapidated condition
is being replaced by a new-barrage under the Odisha Water resources consolidation project funded by the World Bank. The new Naraj barrage is built 200mts.Downstreas of present weir, will have
fuly gated control structure and will be completed by 2002. This replacement of Naraj weir, will
not only stabiles irrigation system of delta stage-1 and reduce the sediment inflow into take .
This will also regular sweet water inflow to the lake to the extent possible.

The river Mahanadi at Naraj which is the head of the delta branches into two princple streams

i.e Mahanadi & Kathjori. The kuakhai river further branches off from river kathjori which causes
major flooding in delta stage-II. Two principal streams i.e. Daya & Bhargavi which branches of from
river Kuakhai falls in the Chilika Lake the largest brackish water wetland of international importance
under the Ramsar wetland convention. The river system which drains into the lake particular daya bhargavi brings large volume of freshwater & sediment into this brackish water in menacing propertion. The continuing shrinkage of lake area and reduction of salinity are the main degradation
factor of the lake.

The new Naraj barrage with control gate operation can operation can handle the Mahanadi discharge utp 35,000 cumes by suitable diverting initial flood into Mahanadi arm and thereby

pushing the major sediment load in Mahanadi armsand pushing comparatively low sediment change
into kathojodi arm. This intelligent operation of Naraj barrage will reduce flood in Kuakhai and flooding in stage-II delta. This will eventually reduce sediment inflow to lake and regulate sweet
water inflow into to certain extent.
K.S. Bhatta, A.K. Pattnaik

Chilika Development Authority, Bhubaneswar

Chilika lagoon is a brackish water lagoon in the east of India covering three districts of Odisha. Due
to increasing human activities and environmental changes, detoriation in biodiversity and hydrological parameters of this unique wetlands is encountered .The immediate problems faced
by the Lagoon are siltation, spread of weed, chages in salinity gradient, shifting of mouth and
depletion of this wetland, Government of India on the recommendation of Tenth Finance Commission, have granted Rupees 27 crores to the State Government for the development of
Chilika. Based on the mathematical model studies conducted by Central Water and Power Research
Station (CWPRS), Pune excavation of a lead channel of 200 MTS bredth and 2.5 MTS depth is
now under progress at outer channel, near “Magarmukh” which is considered as the gateway to the
main Lagoon. This will help to improve the appropriate salinity flux, help for quick discharge for fresh water thus will lead to proper flushing out of sediments and will in turn help in maintaining
the appropriate cross-section of mouth. As part of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of dredging in different hydrophysico chemical as well as hydro-biological parameters of the Lagoon,
Chilika Development Authority (CDA) is carrying out close monitoring of the Lagoon from February
1998 for different hydrophysico chemical and hydro biological parameter as a part a Environment
Impact Assessment of dredging.

During the monitoring period, ten hydrological parameters are recorded by adopting standard

limnological methods and techniques. A marked fluctuation of the hydrological factors is being
observed in the different months at different stations. The atmospheric and water temperature
used to fluctuate between 23.0 to 33.0 c at the the top of the bottom respectively. The of water
depth was recorded between 41.0 to 448.0 cm and the water transparency from 9.0 to 202.0ppm,
and conductivity from 0.1 to 65.0 mili mho/cm. The salinity being the most The dissolved Oxygen recorded a between of 0.8-14.3 ppm.

During the monitoring period, ten hydrological parameters are recorded by adopting standard

limnological methods and techniques. A marked fluctuation of the hydrological factors is being
observed in the different months at different stations. The atmospheric and water temperature
used to flunctute between 23.0 to 33.0 and 24.0 to 32.0 c at the top to bottom respectively. The
water depth was recorded between 41.0to 448.0 cm and the water transparency from 9.0 to 202.0
cm. The variation of pH recorded to vary between 7.1 to 9.6 total alkalinity from 42.0 - 224.0 ppm, and conductivity from 0.1 to 65.0 milli mho/cm. The salinity being the most important factor
for the growth and distribution of biota varied significantly from 0 to 37.1ppt. The dissolved Oxygen
recorded a between of 0.8 - 14.3 ppm.

Th. Manihar

Loktak Development Authority, Manipur


The objective of the project is to improve water management of the Loktak lake and sustain

its recourses for the benefit of the local communities on a long-term basis.
Purpose is to build capacity within the Lokatak Development Authority, other concerned institutions
and the local communities. The ultimate purpose is to provide livelihood security to the local
communities while ensuring conservation of Loktak Lake through water management catchment
area treatment, participatory training and extension.

M.R.D. Kundanagar

J & K Lakes and Waterways Development Authority, Srinagar


The Dal Lake Kashmir is a post glacial lake a shallow depth bounded on thesouth west bythe capital

city of Srinagar and encompassed on the other sides by terraced gentle slopes at the base of precipitous mountains. The Dal lake has been the centre of Kashmir civilization and is among the
most beautiful National heritages. It has placed a major role in the economy of the State of State of Jammu & Kashmir through the attraction of tourists as well as its utilization as a source of food and water. Traditionally the vegetable markets of Srinagar have been supplied from the famous floating
gardens and irrigated land within the lake area.


R.K. Mishra, R.C. Mohanty

Department of Botany, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar


Dissolved oxygen and inorganic nutrients present in the huge waterbody of Chilika influence
spectacularly the growth and distribution of aquatic plants. The lagoon combines sectors of
nutrient enriched and non-enriched and consequently has a wide ranges limnological parameters.

Macrophytes often tend to become aggressive weeds and interfere with the utilization of the water

resource. Different strategies for the management of the noxious growth of aquatic plants are primarily aimed at eliminate them or at least reducing their undesirable growth. However, any
such activities never cause a permanent remedy, rather help their quick regeneration. However,
it needs to be appreciated, that most of the weed species are exotic in nature and their weedy habit
is generally allowed full expression by man induced changes.
In the attempt to study the ecological behaviour, the relationship between the density of vegetation
in different sectors and the water chemistry and physical variables was seen. Alkalinity, total phosphorous and nitrate nitrogen were most strongly correlated with differences in vegetation
between heavily enriched, moderately enriched and non enriched and non enriched sectors ,but
interestingly macrophytic composition was not so strongly related with PH .The growth, whether
luxuriant or not, was always found irrespective of PH changes.

S.P. Adhikary

Department of Botany, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar


Seaweed, as the ame implies covers the macroscopic plant life of the sea and brackishwater zones.

These are macroscopic algal members and never the flowering plants, and contribute to the overall productivity of the sea. Most of the seaweeds are attached to rocks and also grow on other plants
a epiphytes. Along the coast line of India, seaweeds ae abudant where rocky and coral formations occur. This sort of substratum is found in the state of Tamilnadu and Gujurat and in the vicinity of Bombay, Ratnagiri, Goa, Kanwar, Varkala, Vizhingam, Cnnanore Visakhapatanam, lakhadweep, Andaman and Nicobar islands and also in chilika lagoon of Orissa State.

M. Padma, C. Kalavati, A.V. Raman

Department of Zoology, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam-530003


Chilika lagoon, India’s largest brackishwater lagoon, supports a wealth of life including much submerged vegetation. As many as 20 physiognomically different weed exist in the lagoon that

offer a unique niche to a variety of macro and microorganisms that constitute distinct assemblages
in relation to weed morphometrics and other ambient conditions .a study based on 82 samples
of 13 different weeds collected from 44 locations in the lagoon during April,1996 and october,1997
revealed diverse epiphytic microorganisms such as diatoms, flagellates, ciliates and nematodes of which the ciliates were the most predominant. A total of 94 species of protozoans represented by 9
flagellates and 85 ciliates were encountered during the study of these, 14 species were found new
to science and 4 as new records to the lagoon. While species such as Holophrya nairi, Prorodon sp.
and verticella microstoma were more widespread being found throughout, others exhibited different distribution. Diatoms were represented by 14 species of which the most dominant was
Navikula sp. in Tubes. Spatially, in the southern region in the lagoon, where the weeds and Halophila
ovata were found the micro organisms were more diverse. On the otherhand, in northern part with mixed vegetation, less diversity was encountered. There was no significant difference between April’96 (pre-monsoon) and October’97 (monsoon) periods. In general the peripherals regions in the lagoon showed a preponderance of Vorticella microstorm, Coenomorpha sp. and Metopus sp., known for their polysaprobic nature and high saprobic index indicative of deteriorating environmental conditions.

L.K. Banerjee, Anirban Roy

Botanical Survey of India, Botanic Garden, Howrah-3


Chilika, the largest brackish water lagoon in Asis, is a significant ecosystem in respect to its species
diversity, diversity, biological productivity, ecological complexity and sustainable life support. The
total 1100 sq. km. area of this lake with plenty of this lake with plenty of islands is covered with more than 300 angiospermous species, 100 phytoplankton gneera,14 seaweed species and 7 pteridophytic brackish water in central & southern sector and marine water in outer channel sector constitutes vegitational pattern. Phytoplankters have a critical role in the lake food chain. Prawm culture is much more pronounced where sea grasses mainly Halopjila associated with Ruppia, show its dense population. Seaweeds; like Polysiphonia, Enteromorpha, Gracillaria, Ceramium etc. are very significant for their high nutrition contents and phytoplankton association. Several aquatic macrophytes like Cyperus rotundus, Paspalum vaginatum, Paspalidium punctatum, Potamogeton
nodosus, Potamogeton pectinatus etc. are good food source for the avifauna as well as many fishes. Local people use many aquatic plants like Ipomoea aquatica, Enhydra fluctguens, Paspalum
vaginatum, Bocopa monnieri, Nympaea sp. Nymphoides sp. Phragmites karka, Arundo donax, Typha
angustata etc. fore food, fodder, fuel, medicine, thatching material and many other purposes. The
islands harbour magnificent floristic diversity which constitutes numerous edicinal, rare, endangered and threatened species. The island plants supply foods, nesting and hatching facilities to several resident and migratory birds. The present proper deals with the sustainable life support to several thousand of local inhabitants who directly or indirectly depend for their livelihood to various salt, brackish & fresh water plants as well as plants of the islands available in this lagoon ecosystem.



Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, 53, University Road, Lucknow


The pear-shaped Chilika lagoon, lodged between hillock on the Bay of Bengal on the other, is the largest open lagoon in Asia and the second biggest in the world. Chilika lagoon was formed during
the postglacial rise in sea-level but now its existence is being threatened by the increasing biotic pressure on the landscale. Palynological investigation through several sediment profiles
in and around the lagoon has been accomplished in order to work out the history of mangroves
in India, causes of their deterioration and the sustainable technology for their rehabilitation.
Palynology of chilika lagoon has revealed a wide spectrum of depositional environment within
the lagoon. Depending upon fraternity and fidelity of plants to the soil and water salinity, four
environment within the lagoon. Depending upon fraternity and fidelity of plants to the soil and
water salinity, four environment viz. Hypophaline at the north western; Marine at the east central; Brackish at the west-central and Hyperthaline at southern flanks have been recognized.
Core and peripheral mangrove taxa thrived well till the beginning of medieval period i.e. around
2000 years B.P when the Chilika lagoon was a part of the sea. But during little Ice Age between
around 1800-1500 years B.P cooling culminated leading to substantial reduction in ice water
discharge and precipitation. The sea-level reduced by 2-3 m and regessed 10-15 km eastward
to acquire present position. Gradually the mangroves reduced and succeeded by salt marsh
and midland taxa and later disappeared from the scene. This get back to the mangroves could
be as well correlated with record date around 40years B.P when the construction of Paradip
port came into being and vast area was deforested and made healthland.
This study could also be used as most profitable tool to revegetate the denuded land around
Chilika lagoon in particular and along the coastline general.


C.A. Nageswara Rao, A. Mohapatra,

Zoological Survey of India, Berhampur (Ganjam), Odisha


The uniqueness of Chilika Lagoon has attracted the attention of attention of naturalists to explore

its fauna way-back in 1915-21 resulting in the discovery of several new species of animals (mostly invertebrates) from this brackish water lagoon. A good number of interesting vertebrates mainly
amphibians and reptiles were also reported from several small and tiny islands dotting the lagoon
among which studies on Barakuda island are significant as a new limbless lizard was described
from this island.

During the last 6-7 decades considerably changes have taken place in the environment of the

Chilika Lake as well as its invirons due to increase in human dependence on the lagoon and
its surroundings. The increase in human settlements all round the lagoon for agriculture, fishing
and recent aquaculture activities has dealt a severe blow to this fragile habitat resulting in
considerable damage and loss to its faunal diversity. The increase in agricultural activities and
human settlements all along the border of the lagoon during the last several decades resulted
in increase in inflows of agriculture drainage etc. with considerable quantities of fertilizer and
pesticide residues thus causing eutrophication. The degradation of the forests on the western
and southern sides of the lagoon resulted in heavy sediment deposition. The decrease in the
lagoon depth and the disturbances at the mouth and along the channel resulted in restricted
inflows of marine element into the lagoon.

The funal element of the lagoon is mainly estuarine and brackishwater nature because of the

periodic changes in water quality i.e mainly salinity. The detailed ecological and faunal studies
of Zoological survey of India conducted on Chilika Lake during 1985-88 showed a decrease in
the faunal compounds of the estuarine nature.

Sustainable development of Chilika Lake mainly rests on maintaining its ecological balance

thereby conserving its total biodiversity. Restrictions on the human settlements very close and well
controlled aquaculture atvities around the lagoon will help in resurrecting its biodiversity and in
revival of the pristine glory of Chilika lagoon.

S.K. Dutta

Department of Zoology, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar-751004


Chilika Lagoon is the largest brackish water wetland of Asia and spreads over an area of about

1050 sq. Km (Average) including Chilika (Nalabana) Wildlife Sanctuary (15.53 sq. km) for conservation of birds. The herpetofaunal study of Chilika dates back to 1907 when Nelson Annandale, the then Director of the Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta first reported the reptilian fauna of Gopkunda Island. Subsequently, he published a series of paper on the herpetofauna of the entire Lagoon. Ultimately his major discovery was a new genus and species of limbless skink (Barkudia Insularies) from Barkuda Island, after which the genus has been named. Since Annandale’s 1907 survey, several herpetofauna studies have been conducted in and around the lagoon. So far, 37 species of amphibians and reptiles (Seven Species of amphilbians, 12 species of lizards and 18 species of snakes) have been recorded from the locality, but the status of some species in the lagoon is still uncertain. Recent studies indicate that all the Islands in the Lagoon harbour several lizards and snakes which are also found the mainland. However, herpetofaunal species inventory of all the islands is necessary for formulation of conservation measures of the insular population.


C. Kalavati, J. Vaidehi

Department of Zoology, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam-530003

Waterbase Ltd., Vellore, India


A four year study (1986-90) on the parasite induced afflictions on fish stocks in Chilika

lagoon in Odisha showed that the Myxozoans play a significant role causing morbidity
and mortality to the host fish. Among the 35 species of fishes examined, 25 species
mostly consisting of catfish, carps and eels; were found susceptible to these infections.
Altogether 21 species of Myxozoans represented by 13 genera and 7 families were identified. Intense to moderate and extensive to localized tissue reactions associated
with damaged and disruption of tissues were noticed. Decrease levels of muscle protein
and carbohydrate in the infected fish indicated a general loss in nutritive value. The
study also revealed considerable spatial and temporal differences in the distribution
distribution of hosts as well as parasites. Based on their occurrence, the parasites were
categorized into incidental, seasonal and regular species. All expect one species, Bipteria
indica, were host specific. There was no correlation between prevalence of infection and
size or sex of the host. Intensity of infection depended mostly on individual host response.
Variance to mean ratio indicated a highly dispersed nature of the species. Based on the
distribution, it was possible to distinguish the parasites into low saline, high saline and
ubiquitous species.


S.K. Kar, S.K. Pattnaik

Office of the Chief Wildlife Warden, Orissa

Study conducted on population status of waterfowl during three consecutive migration
seasons from November, 1992 to October,1995, indicated that the lake hosts 95 species
of waterfowl belonging to 18 families and 8 orders. The Nalabana wildlife Sanctuary alone
attracts 60-70% of the waterfowl out of the total winter migrants into the lake during the
winter months. The population of Anseriformes constituted maximum (73.9%) shile
Coraciformes was minimum (0.01%) among the winter migrants. Data on habitat type
of waterfowl, ringing/banding of birds, environmental parameters was also recorded during the study period.


Smita Acharya, K. Bohidar, S. K. Kar

Department of Zoology, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar


Chilika, the largest brackishwater lagoon in India in the east coast of odisha provides an ideal feeding and roosting ground for waterfowls belonging to 60 migratory,6 locally migratory and 29 of the total bird population of the lagoon, has been declared as “WILDLIFE

SANCTUARY’ in 1987. During the study period, i.e., November 1993 to October, 1996, data were collected on various limnological parameters and seasonal variations of flora and fauna. Status survey of waterfowls conducted in Nalaban Island during the study period indicated a decreasing trend. The ecosystem of the Lagoon is under stress due to environmental degradation including the anthropogenic pressure interference. Conservation of the Lagoon, therefore, needs an integrated approach to sustain its rich biodiversity.


Banka Behary Das

Ex-MP, Orissa Krushak Mahasangh, Bhubaneswar


Chilika Lagoon, the largest brackish water in odisha, is dying. Though it has been designated as “Wetland of international importance” Since 1981, Because of lack of effort to protect its eco-system, it is languishing every day. If it is allowed to deteriorated, it will be facing biological death within half a centuary. It may exist s big marshy land for some decades and will lose its importance for all time to come.


R.C. Samal

Deputy Director, Geology, Directorate of Mining and Geology, Bhubaneswar


Chilika Lagoon, a typical tropical wetland system, occurs on Ganjam and Puri coast of Odisha. It is an

elongated waterbody, spread parallel to the coast line and protected from the direct contact with the sea by a long barrier spit. Chilika is connected to the sea through a long constricted outer channel with a comparatively smaller inlet. The is fed with fresh water mainly through Daya, Bhargavi, Nua and Makra rivers in its northern part and through many other streams in its
western part which control salinity content of the lagoon water, Salinity of Chilika water varies almost from zero ppt in the northern part 17ppt in the southern part of the lagoon along the fresh water flow and get deposited in it which favour luxuriant growth of vegetarian, particularly in the
northern part. This process of sedimentation and hydrophytes growth has caused serious problem
to the lake ecology. It is also observed that the water spread of Chilika is shrinking gradually during
the recent past. These problems call for immediate attention for conservation of the Lagoon. Chilika is unique coastal geomorphic feature of international significance. It has evolved through a set of
geomorfic processes. Hence, attempt has been made for detailed geomorphological analysis to understand the process of lagoon formation and phases of geomorhological analysis to understand
the process of lagoon formation and phases of geomorphological map and latest methods of minera
logical analysis have been undertaken to study the past history of lagoon formation. Suggestions have been made for environment conservation and development of chilika lagoon.

A.K. Ghosh

Centre for Environment & Development, Calcutta-700068


The Multidimensional profile of critical problem areas in the chilika Lagoon includes impact of new

lease policy allowing prawn culture over vast water spread area, loss of salinity due to silting of inlet
mouth and intervention in Palur Canal, invasion of macrophytes ,a sharply declining fin-fish and shell fish productivity. These problems, could only be addressed through an integrated Management Action Plan based on firm policy, empowering the Chilika development Authority to act as a regulatory organization and with effective linkages and support from fisherman community and major stakeholder government departments.

P.M. Mishra

Ex-Director of Fisheries, Orissa

Chilika lagoon is a unique natural resource of India being the largest brackish water lagoon
of the country and is situated in the east-coast of the country in Odisha. The lagoon is about In summer and 1165 sq. km in the rainy season, one zigzag outer channel of 35 kms long being heavily silted at various places connects the lake with Bay of Bengal by a narrow shifting mouth. The tidal ingression into the lagoon is not sufficient and so there
is reduction of salinity and natural stocking of the lake with prawns, mullets and other
commercial fishes. Owing to siltation and shoal formation in the outer channel and particularly at Magarmukh, the link between the outer channel and the main body of the lagoon, growth of weeds; indiscriminate exploitation of young and brood fishes, shrimps
and crabs ; pollution caused by increased aquacultural practices particularly semi-intensive
prawn culture and pesticide end fertilizer residues into the lagoon used for agriculture in
the resource of the lagoon is reducing.

The lagoon is a paradise for tourists because its vast blue waters, cold wind, mountains

colorful islands, gregarious avifauna, delicious fish, prawns and crab and boating opportunity provide pleasure to the visitors and male the lagoon a wonderland. Establishing
a stable connection between the lake and the sea, selective dredging of the outer chennel
and Magarmukh area, deepening of the pallur Canel, checking the siltation, by plantation
and other soil moisture conservation, appropriate water management, controlled deweeding, adopting sustainable methods of utilization and conservation of biodiversity
developing eco-tourism continuing environmental studies of the lagoon to keep proper data
and actively associating the people of the area in the development programme the lagoon
ecosystem can be restored to perpetuate the wonder in twenty first century for future generations and the socio-economic conditions of the stakeholder living in the lagoon region can be ameliorated.

B. Sarangi, N.R. Mohapatra and A.V.R. Murthy

Orissa Environment Programme(OEP), Bhubaneswar

The paper shape Chilika lagoon which represents the glorious ancient heritage of Odisha, is
one of the largest lagoon of Asia whose water spread is around 906 sq. km. in summer and
1165 sq. km. in monsoon. Geomorphological land sat imageries, geocoded sheets all indicate that the present Chilika lagoon is the remnant of the vast embayment created in the east coast of India. A barrier spit and the mouth in formed naturally, has given it to a logoonal form. Roy and Mohanty have mentioned that the lagoon has reduced its water spread to against the ancient area 1481 sq. km. of the Proto Chilika .Ships were plying from chilika lagoon to indonesian islands. Fish production has declined and other aquatics have been significantly reduced. The degradation of such a vast wetland by way shrinkage of waterspread, death, attractiveness and number of such a vast wetland by way shrinkage of reason of degradation of the lagoon may be the inflowing rivers among which Daya-Bhargavi system in the North-east, Kusumi, Salia etc. in west are important.

The catchment areas of Chilika lagoon exhibit hilly upland with denudational and residual

hills, pediment and pediplain surfaces in the west and north-west, the coastal plain comprising beach, barrier split, beach ridge dunes in the south ad deltaic plain in the
north-east. High grade metamorphic archean rocks in the upland, un consolidated sand in the coastal plain and sand, silt and clay in the deltaic plain are exposed. Though, reserve/protected forests and plantations are there with dense to rare vegetation still sizable barren land is found in the surrounding areas. Inflowing rivers pump lot of sediment into the lagoon.

In order to check soil erosion in the catchment area, massive plantation, soil moisture

conservation measures are suggested. Partial diversion of Daya and Bhargavi river water
to Nuanai with construction of a barrage at Gobakunda is proposed. Periodic dredging
of the lagoon and mouth of the natural environment of this pristine lagoon and its surroundings while executing any developmental work. Execution of development modules
suggested in this paper, for the lagoon, also render enough scope for solving unemployment
problem among the youth who in and around Chilika.
S.N. Patro

Orissa Environment Programme(OEP), Bhubaneswar

Chilika is the largest brackish water lagoon in the Indian sub-continent. Studded with
numerous hillocks and islands in its waters the lagoon is a beautiful place par excellence.
The lagoon and its surrounding are enriched with varieties of aquatic and terrestrial
fauna and flora. It is one of the best resorts for resident and migratory birds. Among
the wetlands of India, Chilika occupies a place of pride as this is declared as “Wetland of international Importance” under IUCN sponsored Ramsar Convention 1971. Chilika is an
ideal habitat of fish, prawn and crabs. Traditionally a number of people depend on the
fishery resource of the lagoon.

The lagoon at present is under ecological stress because of the numerous natural as well as

man made problems like eutrophication, siltation shallowness, loss of salinity, resource depletion etc. Like the biodiversity rich terrestrial ecosystems the aquatic ecosystem are
also severe threat and chilika is no exception to it. Therefore, the need of the hour is creation of mass public awareness and community participation for Protection, conservation
and wise use of its resources ensuring the sustainability of life of the ecosystem as well as
the people around it.

Chilika Lagoon is situated along the East Coast of Peninsular India and connected to the Bay of Bengal. The lagoon is regarded as a part of the sea rendered shallow primarily due to deposits from mouth of Mahanadi and other rivers. Extending from Bhusundapur of Puri District in north to Rambha-Malud of Ganjam District in the South, the lagoon lies between

19.30-19.57” N. Lat. and 85.5-85.29” E Long. (Sahu 1988, Patro & Panda 1994).It covers a vast area of 1,055, which swells to 1,165 sq. km. during rainy season and shrinks to 906 during summer. The vast idyllic lake holds several rockey islands and hills on its foldin the central and southern sector. About 223 sq. km. area is covered by hillocks dotting the shoreline along the north-south of the landmass.
S.K. Lenka

Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, Bhubaneswar


Chilika, the largest inland brackish water body of its kind in Asia is famous for migratory and

resident birds and reach varied aquatic life including dolphin. With unique ecosystem of its own.
It is internationally acknowledged one of the foremost wetlands in 1981 at Ramsar Convention
and included in the Montreux Record in 1993. Inspite of great ecological value and its potential
to provide direct benefit to the community, the ecosystem has not received adequate attention
of planners for its protection and conservation and improve the quality of life of the community depending on it.

One of the primary advantages of ecotourism is that it provides an impetus to expand both

conservation and tourism development. If the ecotourism planning approach is based on
community development, ecotourism can bring employment opportunity to religion and help the
community to improve their economic condition. In addition it is generally assumed that
ecotourism requires less public sector investments on infrastructure than traditional tourism.

the paper evaluates to achieve some of ecotourism objectives through community based

planning in chilika and its environs. These are achievents of ecotourism development and wetland conservation objectives within the framework of the conservation policy ;wise use of the resources
of the ecosystem by the community and tourist; preservation of traditional and cultural values of the
community ; generation of local economy benefit and local support for conservation of the unique wetland.


S.C. Bagri

Department of Tourism, HNB Garhwal University, Srinagar, U.P.


Eco-tourism is the fastest growing segment of tourism industry and its nice market is growing very quickly .India’s heritage, especially natural panorama, offer tremendous

opportunities for ecotourism promotion. But unless environment of natural attractions is
is safeguarded, ecotourism is in danger of being a self destructive process destroying the
very resources upon which it is based. In this form of tourism local people must have a
significant degree of control if ecotourism is to benefit them. It also affects the lives of those who live in such areas. A fairly large number of organizations have started to improve ecotourism. Therefore, there is a need of effective guidelines both for promotion of India’s major ecological rich resources rich as ecotourism attractions.


Biranchi Mishra

Department of Tourism, Govt. of Orissa, Bhubaneswar


Wedged between the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal on the green mountains of the Eastern ghats on the west, Chilika is the largest brackish water lagoon of India. Covering an

area of more than one thousand square kilometers dotted with numerous islands (with interest nomenclature like Honeymoon Island & Breakfast Island), the lagoon is the home
of thousands of resident and migratory birds with amazing biodiversity. The cavorting
Dolphins noticed considerable number near the mouth where the lagoon meets the sea
are an added mouth-watering dishes and provides succour to thousands of fisherman.
Pleasantly combined with this veritable wonder of nature is the religious shrine of Kalijai
on all activities of the lagoon revolve.

N.L .N.S. Prasad

Eastern Regional Office, Ministry of Environment & Forests

Eco-tourism may be viewed as fairly environment friendly industry. With the growing city culture, the civilized man is slowing moving over the world. Eco-tourism offers recreation to tourists
through the natural beauty spots viz. national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, mountain ranges and the coastal sea beaches. Apparently tourism is the second largest net foreign exchange earner of the
country. During 1995-96, the foreign exchange earning s from tourism are reported to be Rs.10,061 crores. Providing direct employment to 8.5 million people and indirect employment to 11.5million
people. This accounts to 2.4% of the total employment in the country. The flow of foreign tourists in India registered an increase of 3.8% in 1997. It is expected to go up by 6.5% in the next few years.

With its wide network of protected widerness areas (84 national parks and 447 wildlife sanctuaries

contributing to over 4.56% of the total geographic area). India has a great potential to satisfy to varied interests of “Eco-tourists”. These rich natural areas not only provide enjoyment to the
tourists but are endowed with resources to explore various ecological interactions between plants
and animals and help enrich scientific knowledge.

With the increasing number of eco-tourists year after year the facilities to view and enjoy as well

as to satisfy their other interests also need to be improved. Consequently, alternation of ecological
conditions becomes a necessity to fit into the special interest/purpose of eco-tourists. Development
of sensitive ecological sites as tourists places often attracts excessive number of visitors. Over-use
leads to the problems of soil erosion. Changes in the wild life relationships and also will have a cultural impact on the local inhabiting wildlife. This warrants eliciting a long term Tourism policy and management plan for the area, Which should be effectively implemented to sustain and safeguard
the interests of the eco-tourist as well as protect the special features existing in the area, which should be effectively implemented to sustained safeguard the interests of the eco tourists as well
as protect the special features existing in the area and or the inhabiting wildlife. The paper presents
various direct and indirect impacts of eco-tourism and related actives on the environment.

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